Training For Watersports Can Teach You A Lot About Your Character

Training For Watersports Can Teach You A Lot About Your Character

Physical strength, mental attitude, persistence, and commitment.

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Watersports are not easy, and to be successful, you have to be mentally and physically trained. Although wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and waterskiing are three different sports, the way to succeed in them is extremely similar, if not the same. These three sports require tremendous commitment, determination, and persistence when you are first learning. Watersports also entail people who are risk-taking and adventurous because swimming in deep and open waters can at often times scare people.

Since I recently learned how to wakesurf myself, I realized how easy it is to give up and become frustrated with the first few unsuccessful attempts. I learned that the key to success is to keep the mind concentrated and committed to standing up on the board and keeping balance once you are up. While my personal experience progressed, I learned that a few technicalities really show one's character in this sport, including physical strength, mental attitude, persistence, and commitment. These all portray the type of person you are within while practicing watersports.

Regardless of the fact that physical strength is beneficial for one's body and health, it is also an essential factor when playing sports. The strongest player is usually always at an advantage, but a misconception that is often believed is that dependent on the sport, athletes have upper body strength but do not have lower body strength and vice versa. This idea is untrue. No matter the sport, athletes need to be physically strong in all areas. Of course, some sports will require some muscles to be used and trained more than others, but overall, the whole body needs to be strong - especially in watersports.

I learned that in the case of watersports, it is very beneficial when you have a strong core, lower body, and upper body. Having strong legs is definitely necessary for getting up on the board and keeping your balance, but a strong upper body strength also comes into play. When being pulled by the boat, having strong arms is essential in being able to keep a strong grip while an immense amount of pressure from the boat is jolting you away. And lastly, surprisingly or not, having a strong core definitely aids in keeping the proper balance.

Now for those of you who have not realized this yet, mental attitude is everything. Being constantly frustrated and focusing on your failures will only result in harder obstacles and fewer successes. Keeping a positive mindset is very important throughout life. When practicing watersports, especially in the beginning, it is important to keep a positive attitude and remind yourself that anything is possible.

Even though you will fall many times, the sport is not impossible as long as you believe in yourself and keep trying. I learned that those who are ready to keep trying after their falls and reiterate that they want to "go again" are the people who succeed the fastest when they are first learning. These are the people that do not give up, which coincides with the idea of persistence and commitment.

People who start off start off determined and committed to riding - no matter what - are the people who are often the most successful in the sport. When this person has tried over 8-10 times and are not giving up, or when he/she doesn't wait around in the water; instead they quickly ask for the rope so they can try again, or when he/she asks for tips - that's when the person is demonstrating natural commitment and is ambitiously eager to succeed. If these qualities are portrayed while practicing the sport, then it is most likely reflecting the aspiring and enthusiastic character that lives within the person.

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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Sometimes, Your Fondest Childhood Memories End Up Being About Sports

Will I have that time again when I embrace the softness and warmth of my athletic passion?

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I have never been on a sports team before. However, just because I never tried out junior varsity or varsity team does not mean I do not play a sport. Actually, I do play one which is softball. You will see how soft this story sounds.

My sisters and I loved to play baseball in Wii Sports. There is no softball in that game in case if you are wondering about it. I remember all the home runs that my sisters did. I wonder if we can do one in real life. Actually, in real life, it is not that easy. I played this sport again in an after-school program called Goodworx during fifth grade. We played it because it was recreation time. When I first played it, I stunk. I could not hit the ball and it was very hard to do so. I only hit it once on a sunny day and that was it. The same thing occurred in gym class during sixth grade and if I remember clearly, I abandoned the sport for a while. When I entered high school, I heard that they had tryouts for the softball team. I just thought that it was a very bad idea. I just left and went on my own way.

However, gym class in tenth grade was a very great opportunity, an easy one I suppose since it did not require any tryouts and all that stuff that come after it. Hehehehe. It felt really good to relive my passion for this sport, but there was one thing that did not change which was the challenge of hitting the ball. I got strikeouts and people have to help me cheat. The cheating helps, but I was getting tired of the fact that I cannot hit the ball. I did not want to be soft about this problem anymore.

One day, I made effort to go find someone to give me advice on that part in softball. Grrr, grr, grr. Who to find? I really cannot take that problem and I want to smack the bat on the wall. Then, I thought of a clever idea, a very clever idea. My crush is the catcher of the baseball team, so I can ask him about it since he is easy to find. On that day, I found him next to a set of lockers after my first class. Luckily, he was there and no one was there, so this was the opportunity that I must catch. All he just told me was, "Just look at how you have to hit the ball." I was hoping for something bigger or longer, but that would do.

When the time came for gym class, I followed the advice and prayed to God that it was going to work. If not, then it is going to be a total let down. I looked at the ball and suddenly, my instincts were telling me to hit it right at that moment. And then... it worked! I finally hit the ball and I went running! I was glad and grateful to my crush. I thanked him the next day and things got better in softball ever since.

There was a time during sophomore year when I went to the middle school to do an errand in the activities fair. I went to visit the baseball and softball section. My crush and a few softball players were advising me to try out the softball team. I still refused because I just think it will override my academics. Still, they make me put my name on it and I am like gosh.

Two years passed and I still played softball in gym class. I never tried out the team, but I still appreciate the timing in gym class. Even though 45 minutes seem too little, it was still good for managing time in doing academics. I even had a peer leader from the baseball team that taught me more about softball and that was really good! So, I played on until it was the last day of gym class.

During the senior awards night, I earned a plaque that said "excellence in physical education." I was so shocked and happy because even though I did not try out a sports team in high school, I was still a true athlete for participating actively in class especially in softball. Now I know that everything was worth it in gym class. Thanks to my gym teachers, my crush, and my peer leader for getting me this far. From that night forward, that plaque served as a memory for my efforts in class, especially in softball.

As of now, I really miss playing that sport. At home, I do not have anyone that can play with me. My friend got busy in the summer, so he could not teach me how to play anymore. As of now, I am at college and I really have no time to play. My college has softball as an intramural sport, but who knows what I will do throughout my life? Will I have that time again when I embrace the softness and warmth of my athletic passion? I really do not know, but I know for sure that there is nothing soft other than softball.

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